The Ochers, you hear about them whenever the Luberon is discussed, but one can never imagine the effect of this natural phenomenon in real life! These mountains are awe-inspiring, topographical gems that transport you to the American West in the blink of an eye. Marie Pizzala visited this “European Colorado” for the first time last October, even though she hails from the region, and was struck by “the colors, the dominant orange [that] goes perfectly with fall’s red vegetation.” Indeed, to take the ocher track in the fall seems to be a walk towards the creation of color itself, with hues along the path oscillating between yellow and violet and many shades in between. The visitor finds himself submerged by a gradation of color of a rare depth. Marie even talked about a strange sensation of a microclimate when she entered the sand desert “it’s hotter than anywhere else!” This hike can take a few different forms and Marie adds that anyone can do it. The big tour takes two hours and leaves from Rustrel in the Luberon . The hike can be done with or without a guide, she notes, along a route made up of “winding tracks, notched rocky peaks, cliffs and caves.”.
All these natural edifices contribute to the mystery of the Luberon Ochers. Legend has it that this color comes from Dame Sermonde, the wife of the Lord of Avignon, who killed herself following the death of her lover. However, a geological explanation is more credible! But whatever the reason, everyone should have the chance to explore this magic and unique landscape on their own. The walk provides a real change of scenery, a unique moment enhanced by all the perfumes of the local scrubland. As Marie noted, “you find yourself in the thick of woody perfumes, like those you smell around the mountain Sainte-Victoire . When you get close to the rocky walls, you perceive the ancestral odor of stone, it’s unique.” Nearby, the Luberon villages make up a prelude, or a conclusion, to this walk. Roussillon proudly parades its flush of red, which reverberates right through to Manosque and Apt. The Ochers are so anchored in the local landscape that they even become a decorative inspiration for their inhabitants. A palette of natural colors that we envy them for.
The village of Roussillon
And the Ocher Trail